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Monday, February 11, 2008
THE PALESTINIAN CENSUS - SMOKE & MIRRORS

THE PALESTINIAN CENSUS - SMOKE & MIRRORS
(Article by Yoram Ettinger, YNET, 10.2.08,
www.ynet.co.il/articles/0,7340,L-3504773,00.html )

(Abridged translated version provided by the author- distributed by GPO)

The Feb. 9, 2008 Palestinian census is not a cause for fatalism. In
contrast with the census, the accurate number of Judea & Samaria Arabs is
1.5 million, and not 2.3 million, and the number of Gaza Arabs is 1.1
million, and not 1.5 million.

The Palestinian census is refuted by Palestinian, Israeli and international
documentation of birth, death, migration, first-graders and eligible voter
registration in Judea, Samaria and Gaza, which has been systematically
conducted by the Bennett Zimmerman-led "American-Israeli Demographic
Research Group" (AIDRG).

While the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) contends a 30%
population growth during the last 10 years, the World Bank documents a
substantial erosion of the Palestinian fertility rate and a significant
escalation of emigration from Judea, Samaria and Gaza. The World Bank
documents a 32% gap between the number of first graders per PCBS projections
(24% increase) and per Palestinian Ministry of Education documentation (8%
decrease).

A strange co-incidence has produced similarity between the 2007 census and
the PCBS 1997 projection toward 2007, in spite of dramatic volatility in the
areas of security, economics and politics, which has occurred since 1997,
and which has caused a boost in Palestinian emigration and decline in
fertility. For example, terrorism and counter-terrorism, the Hamas-Fatah
war, unprecedented (over 30%) unemployment, the rise in the price of oil and
a corresponding rise in demand for manpower in the Arab oil producing
countries, intensive UNRAW and PCBS-led family planning, an unprecedented
reduction of teen-pregnancy, a swift urbanization process, an all-time-high
Palestinian divorce rate, an impressive expansion of the education system
and the increase in Palestinian median wedding-age. The 1997 PCBS
projections have been refuted annually by the documentation produced by the
Palestinian Ministries of Health and Education and Election Commission, as
well as by Israel's Border Police and European observers, monitoring exists
and entries through Israel's, Judea, Samaria and Gaza's international
passages.

While the 2007 census ignores the bolstered emigration phenomenon, Israel's
Border Police and the European observers have documented net-emigration of
12,000 in 2004, 16,000 in 2005 and 25,000 in 2006, with expectation of a
significant rise in the scope of 2007 net-emigration. The extent of
1997-2003 average annual net-emigration was over 10,000, which has
characterized the entire period since 1950!

According to the PCBS website, the 2007 census was based on the 1997 census,
which was inflated by 30%, growing exponentially by the year. Thus, in
contrast with internationally accepted demographic standards, the 1997
census included 325,000 residents, who stayed abroad for over a year, as
well as students, who studied overseas, irrespective of their study period.
Israel subtracts from its census Israelis who are away for over a year, and
restores them following 90 days of stay in Israel. The 1997 census included
210,000 Israeli Arabs, bearing Israeli I.D. cards, who were doubly-counted:
as Israeli Arabs by Israel's Central Bureau of Statistics and as West Bank
Arabs by the PCBS.

In summation, the 2007 census for Judea & Samaria was inflated by 53%, and
the Jewish-Arab proportion west of the Jordan River - without Gaza -
documents a robust Jewish majority of 67%, compared with a 33% Jewish
minority in 1947, including Gaza. The most effective symptom of the
transformation - from Arab to Jewish demographic momentum - has been the
absolute annual number of Jewish and Arab births within Israel's "Green
Line." While the number of annual Arab births stagnated at 39,000 between
1995 to 2007, the number of annual Jewish births catapulted by 40% from
80,400 in 1995 to 112,000 in 2007.

There is a demographic problem, but it is not lethal, there is no
demographic machete at Israel's throat, and the demographic tailwind is
Jewish, not Arab. In fact, documented births, deaths and migration clarify
that Jewish demography has become a strategic asset and not a liability.
Hence, awareness of demographic reality could enhance the security,
political, strategic, diplomatic and economic options of Israeli doves and
hawks alike.

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